• Air Force uses its secretive space drone to test futuristic propulsion system

    Ask someone in the street what they know about the Air Force's top-secret space plane and you'll probably wind up getting pinched by the NSA. Nobody can claim to know much about the X-37B, beyond the fact that it's the force's long-term space vehicle, capable of staying in orbit for more than a year at a time. In the run up to the craft's next jaunt around the planet, however, someone has let slip the details of an experiment that it'll be carrying out. According to Spaceflight Now, Air Force officials have revealed that the autonomous drone will be used as the test-bed for a new type of Hall effect thruster.

  • Apple Pay hits Best Buy's app, coming to stores later this year

    Best Buy, one of the largest Apple Pay holdouts, is changing its mind. Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced during its earnings call that Best Buy stores will support Apple Pay later this year. It's also available starting today within Best Buy's mobile apps. The news comes only a few hours after we learned the service will soon be supporting Discover cards, making it compatible with the top four biggest credit card companies int he U.S. Best Buy's reversal is especially interesting since its a member of MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), a joint initiative between big retailers like Walmart and Target to support their own mobile payments app, dubbed CurrentC. None of the MCX members supported Apple Pay when it launched last fall (though Target's mobile app does support it now), so Best Buy's flip-flop might be a sign that we'll see wider support eventually.

  • Car headlights of the future won't blind other drivers

  • 'Gears of War' looks like the next game to get an Xbox One remaster

    Like it or not, ports of classic games to the latest consoles are still all the rage... and Microsoft appears eager to cash in on the trend. Both Kotaku and Polygon report that Microsoft, Black Tusk Studios and Dirty Bomb's Splash Damage are working on a remastered Xbox One version of at least the first Gears of War game. It's not certain just how far this update to the cover-based shooter will go, but it supposedly includes both improved in-game graphics (such as sharper textures and improved lighting) and "reworked cutscenes" courtesy of animation studio Plastic Wax. This sadly wouldn't be a genuinely new game, then, but it wouldn't be surprising if the leaks are on the mark. Gears of War was one of the big money-makers for the Xbox 360 in the console's heyday, and it'd likely attract plenty of gamers with fond memories of blasting Locust drones.

  • Police can spot differences between identical twins by melting DNA

    Believe it or not, police have a real problem with identifying suspects who are identical twins – unless you're willing to spend a month sequencing genes, DNA samples are all but useless. They may be far more effective in the future, though, as British researchers have developed a technique that melts DNA to identify what few differences exist. The team has determined that heating genes will break hydrogen bonds that form due to a person's environment and habits. Unless the twins live eerily similar lives, those bonds will snap at different temperature points and quickly identify who's who.

  • Facebook and Google help find Nepal earthquake survivors

    The Nepal earthquake has caused an immeasurable amount of tragedy this weekend, but some internet services are offering tools that might provide comfort if you have friends or family in the area. Facebook has rolled out its recently introduced Safety Check feature to tell you if contacts in the area are okay – survivors only have to report in to ease your mind. Google, meanwhile, has revived its longstanding Person Finder to assist you in both locating loved ones and sharing news with others. You'll want to get in direct contact or reach out an embassy if you're still concerned about affected locals, but these internet tools could spare you from a lot of uncertainty.

  • Google pulls the Nexus 7 tablet from its online store

    In case you were on the fence about grabbing one of Google's affordable Nexus tablets, you'd better jump off it pretty soon. The Nexus 7's been pulled from the Google Store, as spotted by TalkAndroid, and it almost assuredly isn't coming back – especially since the Nexus 9 exists. That means if you still want one of the consistently updated 7-inch slates you'll have to hit places like Amazon while supplies last or wallow in regret for all that could've been. Namely, owning a tablet that (to me at least) is more comfortable to hold than the IPad Mini 2 and is essentially just as capable.

  • These tiny gecko-inspired robots can lift over 100x their weight

    Beware the tiny robot uprising, which at this point are taunting us with the equivalent of superhuman strength. Researchers at Stanford have created several tiny bots that can move things more than 100 times their weight, reports New Scientist. They're the latest example of the university's research into mimicking the climbing abilities of geckos. The robots feet contain adhesives that manage to hold onto the wall even when they're carrying heavy loads, and easily detach when they need to move. And as you can see in the video below, the bots' movement is also inspired by nature, going forward one step at a time like an inchworm. One nine gram robot can lift something that weighs a kilogram (in the video it's hoisting Stanford's 2006-era "StickyBot"), while an astonishingly small 20 milligram bot can lift something 500 milligrams (a small paperclip).

  • Steam lets modders sell their wares, starting with 'Skyrim'

    Valve's move to start selling community-created mods on its PC-game storefront looks like it could boost that $57 million user payout from earlier this year. And it's starting with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – one of the most popular moddable games. The process sounds pretty easy as Valve tells it, too. Upload your tweak to the Skyrim Creation Kit, agree to the new Steam Workshop terms, enter payment info and set your creation free. Within the week, it'll go up for sale at a price of your choosing. You can even add revenue splitting if you're working with a team and generally control the whole process from start to finish.

  • Google eyes the bigger picture while missing Wall Street's expectations

    It's earnings time once more, and Google's gone and done it again. Despite taking in $17.3 billion in revenue over the past three months (that's a 12 percent lift over how much it made this time last year), the search giant still managed to whiff slightly when it came to pleasing Wall Street's persnickety analysts. If you've been paying attention the these earnings releases (dry though they may be), none of this will be news to you. Google's track record over the past few years is filled with more Wall Street misses than hits, and this'll be the company's sixth consecutive whiff. But does Google care? Yeah, no.